Pau and Kobe 'expected' to play Friday

USA TODAY Sports

Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol went through practice Thursday and are expected to play Friday.

With the Los Angeles Lakers wrapping up a much needed layoff after their back-to-back that ended Monday, the purple and gold expect both Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant to return to their lineup Friday when the Washington Wizards visit Staples Center, via Lakers Reporter Mike Trudell.

Gasol had an ultrasound on his right foot in which he tore the plantar fascia of six weeks ago and the results showed that it has continued to heal as he progresses. The initial six-to-eight timetable falls right in line with his return, and despite having a minor setback last Saturday, Gasol will resume playing. Gasol did admit to having trouble with his conditioning, but having been out of basketball action for so long, said the only way to get back into basketball shape is to play, via Trudell.

Bryant practiced with the team Thursday and went through the majority of drills, only stopping to receive treatment on his ankle. Kobe has missed the last two games after playing in the previous 67 contests.

Both players returning to the lineup will alleviate the pressure on the seven-man rotation that Mike D'Antoni instilled in the absence of both players recently. There are 13 games remaining in the regular season. With the Utah Jazz losing to the Houston Rockets Tuesday night the Lakers now hold a 1.5 game lead over Utah for the eight seed.

- Drew

- Follow this author on Twitter @DrewGarrisonSBN

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